The term stakeholder no longer used?

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It has been brought to our attention by some of our Native American colleagues that the term stakeholder is no longer appropriate to use because it is so deeply rooted in colonial practices.  We have been encouraged to use terms like "interested parties" instead. We were wondering if any other organizations are having similar conversations and if you have any terms that you are using that you could share?  Thank you! 

Molly Maloy

Conservation Leadership Manager, Denver Zoo

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Go to the profile of Alejandro Prescott-Cornejo
about 2 months ago

Hey Molly! Great to see your name pop up in my inbox. I was unaware of this, but I did a quick search and it does seem like there is a reason for it. This organization advocates for the term "rights and title holders" instead of "stakeholders." Thanks for bringing this topic up and I hope this information is useful! It's these kinds of conversations among non-affected parties that can really enhance allyship and ultimately conservation objectives that benefit all sides.

Go to the profile of Molly Maloy
29 days ago

Hi Alejandro!  Great to hear from you.  Thanks so much for the response. I have shared the website to the organization you shared with my colleagues.  Yes, this is a topic that is generating a lot of discussion at our organization and we want to make sure we have as much input and information as possible.  We want to make sure as an organization we are not perpetuating a culture that is not inclusive and safe.  Thank you! 

Go to the profile of Thirza Loffeld
about 2 months ago

Hi Molly, thanks for this "food for thought" post and great to read Alejandro's response! Your post was not assigned to any room or channel so I added it to the "Our community" channel and "Management and organisational development" room, just so other members who are interested in these topics will be notified in their digests of your post and members will be able to find back your post. Hope that makes sense? You can always change the location of your post by clicking on the edit button below the picture banner (hope you like that one, again, feel free to change it!). Best wishes, Thirza

Go to the profile of Adam Barlow
about 2 months ago

I did not know that, thanks Molly!


A quick internet search suggested that Aboriginal Peoples in Autralia also find the term incorrect/potentially offensive because (like the Native Americans) they are differentiated from what other groups can do - because they have legal rights that those other groups do not. Would be good to get more info on this - particularly from members of groups that find this term problematic.

Go to the profile of Antonia Leckie
about 2 months ago

Hi Molly, 


Thank you so much for your post. I haven't heard of this being a problem in Kenya particularly as the term is used a lot in our judicial system but I will definitely be asking the question at our next "stakeholders" meeting!

Go to the profile of Felicia Lasmana
about 1 month ago

Interesting post. Thanks for bringing this up. In my work especially in Southeast Asia, we use the "stakeholders" term not only for the affected communities but also for other organisation/people who are involved in the project area, such as local government, CSOs, or even companies.

Go to the profile of Beckie Garbett
about 1 month ago

Hey Molly! That's a really interesting point! I haven't come across any sensitivities surrounding this as yet (maybe we just haven't consulted enough on it) but I'll definitely consider it and look a little more into it moving forward with work here in southern Africa. However, all organisations that I've worked for until now have also used this term in the same way that @Felicia Lasmana mentions e.g., project partners/collaborators - other NGO's Gov. dept's, corporates, etc.

Go to the profile of Molly Maloy
24 days ago

Hi Beckie!  Great to hear from you.  Yes, I think the conversations around this word are just starting and are emerging in different places.  However, here in Colorado it has become a high priority conversation given the history and the significance of Native American communities here.  If I get anymore information or resources that could be helpful to folks, I will certainly share them.  

Go to the profile of Pablo Borboroglu
about 1 month ago

Good point Molly. In our coaching sessions our communication expert suggested us to avoid the use of the word stakeholders and specify who they are: for example tour guides, landowners, travel agents, etc . So, when possible, we try to avoid the use of "stakeholders" although It helps to save words in many space limited texts. 

Go to the profile of Molly Maloy
24 days ago

Wow, thank you so much for this information Pablo.  This is very helpful.  We fully recognize that this word is so deeply ingrained in our field, our work and our brains and it will take some time to shift the culture around its use and its origins.  However, we are really open to conversations to learn how other organizations and groups are moving away from this word (and other words) and how they are influencing others to do the same.  Thank you!